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Thread: Bombing of seawall at West-Kapelle 03.10.1944

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    Default Bombing of seawall at West-Kapelle 03.10.1944

    Good evening to you all,

    On 03 Oct. 1944, RAF Lancasters bombed the seawall at West-Kapelle, Walcheren, Holland.
    Are there any details available on the squadrons participating on this particular raid?

    TIA,

    Hans

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    Pathfinder Oboe Marking was done by 3 Mosquitoes from 109 Squadron, marking from 22,000 ft., along with two from 105 Squadron. 4 of the 5 Mosquitoes marked successfully, one had an Oboe equipment failure, H-Hour was 13:00.
    582 Squadron (PFF) sent 4 Lancasters acting as Master Bomber (G/Capt. Peter Cribb), Deputy Master Bomber (W/C D.M Wellbourne) and 2 Primary Visual Markers covering the 8 waves (H-Hours 13:00;13:15; 13:30; 13:45; 14;00; 14:15; 14:30 & 14:45).
    The Master Bomber considered that the wall was well breached and the water was about 2,000 yds inland. Village Flooded.
    Weather was 4/10 cumulus at begining, base about 3,000 ft., clear in patches to 7,000 ft. - Continued until rain squall came in from north, for last 3 attacks.
    Defences - slight heavy flak from gun battery south of aiming point.
    From the RAF Little Staughton, 109 Squadron, 105 Squadron & 582 Squadron ORBs.
    There is an interesting comment about Peter Cribb In Sean Feast's book "Master Bombers".
    "Cribb's bravery in the air was matched by his eccentricities on the ground. In the air he had proven his consistant bravery over a sustained period of operations. On the ground he had been known to take pot shots with his service revolver at the light bulb in his room, rather than use the switch."
    There are fairly detailed accounts of the attacks by the Master Bomber and Deputy Master Bomber in the 582 Squadron ORB, email me if you are interested in the details.
    Regards
    Dave Wallace
    Last edited by David Wallace; 23rd March 2009 at 00:08.

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    I have the following from the War Diary...
    "252 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos commenced the attack on the sea walls of Walcheren island. Coastal gun batteries at Walcheren dominated the approaches to the port of Antwerp, whose facilities could handle 40,000 tons per day of much needed supplies when ships could safely use the approaches. The intention was to flood the island, most of which was reclaimed polder below sea level. The flooding would submerge some of the gun batteries and also hamper the German defence against eventual ground attack. The target for this first raid was the sea wall at Westkapelle, the most western point of Walcheren. The main bombing force was composed of 8 waves, each of 30 Lancasters, with marking provided by Oboe Mosquitos and Pathfinder Lancasters, with the whole operation being controlled by a Master Bomber. The attack went well and a great mass of high-explosive bombs, mainly 1,000- and 500-pounders but with some 4,000-pounders, forced a gap during the fifth wave of the attack. Later waves widened the breach until the sea was pouring in through a gap estimated to be 100 yards wide. 8 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron which were standing by were not needed and carried their valuable Tallboy bombs back to England. No aircraft were lost from this successful operation."

    Middlebrook and Everitt who have much the same information also do not list the group(s) involved, but I suspect that 5-Group (617 and probably others) was involved to some degree, without seeing the ORB from said group.

    Jim

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    75 squadron (3 Group) flying out of Mepal were also involved.
    Max
    Max Williams
    www.ordinarycrew.co.uk
    the story of Lancaster ME453

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    Hans,

    No.3 (Bomber) Groups involvement.

    Tuesday 3rd October 1944 :Westkappele

    Daylight

    120 Avro Lancaster’s detailed.


    115 Sqdn (20) 514 Sqdn (19) 75NZ Sqdn (21) 622 Sqdn (12) 15 Sqdn (11) 90 Sqdn (17) 218 Sqdn (10) 149 Sqdn (10)


    Cancelled : 0
    Abortive : 0
    Missing : 0


    The aim of the attack was to break the sea walls at the northern end of the island of Walcheren and was carried out from 5000ft. The bombing was directed by a Master Bomber and was accurate. The wall was hit and breached.

    1st Wave 30 Lancaster No.32 Base T.o.T H –Hour + 10
    2nd Wave 30 Lancaster No.33 Base T.o.T H –Hour + 25
    3rd Wave 30 Lancaster No.32 Base T.o.T H –Hour + 30 to 40
    4th Wave 30 Lancaster No.33 Base T.o.T H –Hour + 55

    Bomb loads : 1 x 4000lb + 6 x1000lb
    Note Order of release: 4000lb to fall on AP with 3 x 1000lb ahead and 3 x 1000lb behind.

    1st Phase : 3 Group
    2nd Phase : 10 a/c with Tallboys.

    Marking : Musical Mosquitoes / TI Green 1st Wave, TI Reds each wave after. Bombs to be dropped visually on MC instructions.


    Regards

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Weren't 12 Squadron's lancasters involved or is that a different raid? I read a memoir recently by a man called Peter Huggins who described bombing a sea wall on Walcheren in autumn 1944.He said he was too low and his lanc was damaged by the explosions of his own bombs.Bits of the sea wall flew up into the air and ripped through his plane.He found lumps of concrete in the wing when he arrived back at base.

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    Jon: The taking of the Scheldt by Canadian troups involved considerable effort by Bomber Command in October 44. The Walcheren seawall was attacked on October 3, 7, 11, 17 28 29 and 30.

    It was a shame really, because Monty really lost his opportunity when Horrocks went into Antwerp. The North shore of the approaches to Antwerp could have been secured quickly at that time, however Student's Paratroop division dug in and the process of purging the Germans from the area became a nightmare for the Canadians (including my Uncle's regiment). While Montgomery was buggering around with the Market Garden fiasco, they had limited Canadian artillery to a pitiful amount of rounds of amunition (2 rounds per gun per hour Personal Communication Spike Maskel, 23rd Cdn Self Propelled regiment). Anyways the rest is history...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Scheldt

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    Dear gentlemen,

    Thanks very much indeed for all your details of this attack which I've never thought to have been of such a magnitude.

    Kind regards,
    Hans

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